Barcelona Gets Ready for the Residential Equivalent of Coworking: ‘Coliving’

29 January 2019 – Idealista

Whilst last year, coworking was one of the most repeated words, this year, it seems that the residential equivalent is on everyone’s lips, specifically, the new formulae for housing, ‘coliving’. So much so that Barcelona is already preparing to receive the first operators: the Consortium of the Zona Franca, a public entity tasked with the economic revitalisation of the city of Barcelona and its metropolitan area, is already managing licences to open the first coliving centres in the La Marina neighbourhood.

Although the names of the firms that are going to make their debuts in Spain under this model are unknown for the time being, sources in the sector say that they have already started to process the first permits for projects that are in an initial phase. “Just like coworking has become a successful phenomenon for the office market in Spain over the last 2 years, so professionalised coliving wants to follow in its footsteps and try its luck in the residential market”, explain sources at the real estate consultancy firm Forcadell.

“The large international investment funds, in their search for alternative assets that offer higher returns, are studying the Spanish market to implement this model, which has already proved successful in other countries such as the USA, Germany, the UK and Japan (Tokyo)”, say the sources at Forcadell.

With their arrival, these operators will professionalise a common practice in Spain of house sharing, by adding sophisticated aspects more typical of student halls. The coliving projects that have been developed to date comprise complexes with bedrooms and individual bathrooms on the one side and large common areas with movie theatres and games rooms (with ping pong, pool. etc.), libraries, gyms, restaurants and swimming pools, amongst others, on the other side.

According to Toni López, Partner at Forcadell and Director of the company’s real estate area, “the millenials have changed the way of consuming and have championed a change of thinking around property ownership, experience and use; it is logical and inevitable that this trend will expand to the real estate sector”. They are a generation that values experiences and seeks to optimise resources to the max, paying only for the use and experience of an asset, without incurring the cost and hassle involved with its ownership.

Medici and Corestate, the first brave players

Medici and Corestate have become the first groups to look closely at Spain for their new homes under the coliving formula (…). The German company Medici has joined forces with the German fund Corestate to invest more than €1 million in the development of business across all of Europe. In the Spanish market, the company will operate under the Quarters brand and it is already negotiating its first coliving project in Barcelona (…).

Medici already has three coliving buildings in Berlin, with capacity for 45 residents and nine apartments; and two more in the USA, in cities such as New York and Chicago, where the monthly rents range between USD 1,100 (€967) and USD 1,500 (€1,320) (…).

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ActivumSG Launches New €500M Fund with Projects in Marbella & Salamanca

22 January 2018 – Eje Prime

The international group ActivumSG is continuing to back its business in the Spanish market. The company, which operates under the brand ASG in Spain, is launching a new €500 million fund to make real estate investments across Europe, according to explanations provided by the company to Eje Prime. Some of the first projects that have already been financed thanks to this fund, the fifth to be promoted by ActivumSG, include three projects in Berlin and three in Spain, located in Marbella, Salamanca and Estepona.

This new fund promoted by ActivumSG is one of the group’s most important in terms of investment, with funds raised mostly from investors that have already participated in the group. Of the €500 million, the fund has already committed more than €200 million in Spain and Germany.

In the Spanish market, ActivumSG has already launched Project España, located in Salamanca. Initially baptised as Project Victoria, the fund has now started construction on this luxury residential development in the centre of the city. “The project involves the demolition of an office building located at number 5 Plaza España to convert it into a high-end residential property, comprising 27 apartments”, say sources at the German company.

The second project that ActivumSG is going to promote with this new fund is Parque Central, in the centre of Estepona. The German fund is already finalising the details to start work on the construction of this residential development, which will span 12,600 m2 and which is already being marketed.

Finally, the fund is working on Project Sierra Blanca, in Marbella. That project, which is in its preliminary phase, will be located in the neighbourhood of Sierra Blanca, in Marbella, and will involve the development of 40 luxury homes, with gardens and parking.

The latter two projects are located in the province of Málaga, one of the main tourist destinations in the south of Spain. ActivumSG has been advised in the acquisition by the group’s Spanish subsidiary, ActivumSG Iberia, which is currently being led by Brian Betel, former Director of Cerberus Iberia Advisor and Citibank.

ActivumSG’s team in Spain is completed by Víctor Pérez Arias, former Director of CBRE; Juan Alonso Bartolomé, a director who has worked for companies such as GE Capital Real Estate and ING Real Estate; Alejandro Adan Manes, who joined the firm from Axa Real Estate; Carlos Molero Sánchez, formerly of PwC and KPMG, and Ignacio Gaytan, who previously held the position of maximum responsibility at Grupo Lar, amongst others.

ActivumSG in Spain

Currently, ActivumSG’s portfolio in Spain comprises a dozen assets, with the exception of two that have been divested in recent months, located in Manuel de Falla and Santa Leonor, both in Madrid (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catella Buys 3 Residential Buildings In Madrid & Barcelona

5 December 2016 – Real Estate Press

Catella Real Estate, which is headquartered in Munich, has acquired 277 homes in Berlin, Madrid and Barcelona for €92.7 million, which it will incorporate into its real estate fund Catella Wohnen Europa. The acquisition forms part of the fund’s investment strategy to acquire residential properties across Europe into its portfolio.

“The Spanish market is enjoying a sustainable recovery. Specifically, in Madrid and Barcelona, there are currently some very attractive investment opportunities. Through our Catella network and in collaboration with our asset management and investment platform in Spain, we have identified and executed these excellent acquisition opportunities for our investors”, said Markus Wiegleb, Portfolio Director at Catella.

The Spanish residential portfolio comprises a surface area of 13,469 m2 in total. The fund has acquired two properties in Madrid: the recently renovated building on Calle Genova, 5 for €23.9 million, which was contructed in 1900 and which contains 24 homes; and the modern property on Calle Alaró 4, built in 2008, with 82 residential units, which was acquired for €12.9 million. The third Spanish property, Rambla Poplenou 124 in Barcelona, was constructed in 2002 and contains 59 residential units. It was acquired for €23.7 million. (…).

“Catella has a strong local presence in Europe, with offices in 12 countries. Moreover, we work in partnership with a large number of local companies in other European countries. Our extensive knowledge of the real estate sector and our pan-European reach allows us to access unique investment opportunities for our investors across Europe”, said Xavier Jongen, Project Director at Catella in the residential real estate funds division.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Prices of Luxury Homes To Rise In Madrid And Barcelona

14 May 2015 – Expansión

Recovery / The prices of high-end homes will increase by 5% in Spain’s largest cities in 2015, but they still fall well below those seen in Monaco, London and Paris.

Madrid and Barcelona are two of the large European cities in which luxury housing is least expensive. Nevertheless, it is clear that high quality properties are going to become more expensive in 2015. Specifically, by 5% in the “most prestigious areas” of Barcelona and by between 2% and 3% in Madrid.

Those are the findings of a study by Coldwell Banker – one of the largest networks of real estate brokers in the world – which compares prices per square metre for new, used and luxury housing in prime areas of the continent’s main real estate cities: Monaco, Prague, Rome, Milan, Paris, Valeta (Malta), Berlin and London, as well as in the Madrilenian and Cataluñan capitals. The comparison is linear; it does not take into account the (respective) income of citizens.

In the urban centre of Madrid, the average price per square metre of new housing developments is €5,610, i.e. €110 more than in the centre of Barcelona (€5,500). Those figures are light years away from the (prices seen in) London (€11,500/m2) and Paris (€10,000/m2) and from the stratospheric prices of €80,000 per square metre in the principality of Monaco.

Thus, whilst a 100 m2 apartment in a well-located area of the Spanish capital costs €561,000 on average; in the centre of Monte Carlo, the price of the same property would soar to €8 million. In other words, the same price as 14 such properties in Madrid and 14.5 in Barcelona. We should bear in mind that Monaco has a surface area of just 2 square kilometres, in which almost every centimetre contributes exclusivity and luxury.

Other European cities have less prohibitive prices. The price per usable square metre of a new residential property in Milan amounts to €10,500 and in Rome, to €8,500.

Of the 10 individual real estate markets covered in the report, only three are cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona: Berlin (€4,800 per m2, on average), Valeta (Malta, €3,650/m2) and Prague (€2,770/m2).

The price of luxury housing is increasing with respect to central areas in all of the cities, except for Monaco, which is an extremely “limited” market, says the report. The price per m2 of a new luxury apartment – not necessarily in the centre – is €60,000 in the state of Monaco.

Far below the prices seen in the Principality, the most exclusive capital in Europe is Paris, where the average price per square metre of luxury homes amounts to €25,000. In third place and still in a bubble is London, where residential properties of the highest quality have an average price of €18,000 per square metre.

Prices in London are double those in Madrid (€9,033). Luxury homes in Madrid are 20% more expensive than in Barcelona (€7,500 per square metre).

Limited supply

In Barcelona, “prices will start to recover slowly in the main areas. In the areas of highest demand and prestige, we expect to see an increase of between 3% and 5%”, says the report. In Madrid the increases will amount to between 2% and 3%.

According to Coldwell Banker, the “high quality” residential market in Madrid “is still very limited” and in Barcelona “supply is limited, since there are few new buildings in the centre of the city”. In Madrid, there are approximately 200 developments of this kind in the centre and around 400 in the wider metropolitan area.

That is not the case in other capitals. The supply of new homes in Berlin is “extremely strong”. Investors mostly seek “small furnished, high-end luxury apartments”. Penthouses can cost as much as €20,000 per square metre.

The other goldmine is still London: “In Mayfair and Marylebone, there is a large supply of new projects that are just coming to an end now”, says the report.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BMB Creates A Socimi In Spain Called ‘Optimum RE Spain’

6 March 2015 – Expansión

The fund manager BMB has created a Socimi called Optimum RE Spain, whose objective is the acquisition of residential properties in Madrid and Barcelona. BMB is well known in the market as it has created several investment funds in Berlin in recent years.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid: Third Favourite Investment Market In Europe

12 February 2015 – Expansión

PwC Report / The Spanish capital is the third favourite investment market after Berlin and Dublin. The commitments made by George Soros and Dalian Wanda are generating the “pull effect” (in 2015).

The financial investor George Soros, the giant Chinese corporate Dalian Wanda and the new fund manager Tiaa Henderson all have something in common: they have all invested in the Spanish real estate sector in recent months. This activity has not gone unnoticed by other investors, since not only has real estate investment in Spain returned to figures not seen since the boom years (2007), but also the phenomenon is also expected to continue in 2015.

According to the ‘Trends in the European Real Estate Market 2015’ report, prepared by PwC, Madrid is the third favourite destination for investors at the European level, behind Berlin and Dublin. “There is a mixture of 28 cities in this ranking: classic investment destinations such as Berlin and Munich, capitals that are in recovery, such as Athens – the survey was conducted in November before the Greek elections – and Dublin”, explains Rafael Pérez Guerra, the partner responsible for the real estate sector at PwC.

Of the 28 cities studied, only those in Russia have limited prospects for investment growth, even though 61% of respondents believe that the good assets (known as “the core” in the sector) are overvalued in virtually all of the European markets.

This boom has led many investors to seek out new markets. “Another important area of interest are the secondary cities, such as Birmingham, which is ranked in sixth place, above London and Munich. Investors have started to take on more risk because profitability in the large markets is scarce; as a result they are exploring secondary sites”, he adds.

Spain

The change in the Spanish real estate sector is reflected in the rise (up the ranking) of its main markets as investment destinations: Madrid has risen from 19th place to third and Barcelona from 22nd to 13th, according to PwC’s report.

“There is a very high level of interest and activity in Spain. It is not that the market is not over-heating, but rather that the dynamics of the sector are changing, with an imbalance between a scarcity of good deals in prime areas and significant demand from opportunists who remain in the market and more stable investors who are arriving”, says Enrique Used, the partner responsible for transactions in the real estate sector at PwC.

This commitment to the Spanish market will continue in 2015, according to the survey respondents, and will not be limited to the large markets. “International capital has moved towards Spain, en masse. Prices have risen considerably in Madrid, which suggests that the investors that are looking for the highest returns, should set their sights on the secondary markets in Spain during 2015 to obtain higher returns.

Although the 500 people surveyed by PwC see a clear recovery in investment in Spain, they still believe that the market for the construction of new homes should improve; Madrid and Barcelona are ranked only 14th and 23rd, respectively, although that represents an improvement with respect to 2013 when they were ranked 21st and 25th.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake